DAVOS, Switzerland — German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron pushed hard for the launch of negotiations on a European Union-U.S. free-trade agreement on Thursday at the World Economic Forum here.
“We urgently need to come to such agreements,” said Merkel, indicating that with the World Trade Organization-sponsored Doha Round of trade talks in limbo, “We have to pin our hopes on bilateral trade agreements, and Germany, I can assure you, will be very proactive in the conclusion of FTA agreements.”
With regard to an EU-U.S. accord, Merkel said in a keynote address to business and world leaders, “We would like to do this with the U.S., as well. I think we need to do this, we can do this and we all will benefit.”
Merkel said, “One of the big engines of growth of the world economy, and for us in Europe, is free trade,” but she also cautioned “there are a lot of protectionist tendencies and we need to do everything we can in order to contain them.”
Cameron also forcefully argued for a transatlantic trade pact.
“Now there is the beginning of negotiations on an EU-U.S. trade agreement,” he said. “A deal…could add over 50 billion pounds to the EU economy alone.”
Cameron pointed out that during his country’s presidency of the G-8 this year “we’re going to push for more openness on trade.”
A group chaired by outgoing U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, tasked to explore ways to advance U.S.-EU trade and investment, was established during the November 2011 U.S.-EU summit.
A USTR spokeswoman told WWD, “We know there is a lot of interest in whether we will decide with our colleagues to launch trade negotiations. Our work in that regard is ongoing. We want to take the time to get the substance right.”
A spokesman for the EU trade commissioner said work was “ongoing at this stage.”
Luisa Santos, head of international trade at the European Apparel and Textile Confederation, or Euratex, said, “We are strongly in favor of this agreement. In our sector, duties are still high in the U.S. and being this a price-sensitive market, the elimination of the duties would certainly improve the competitive advantages of EU companies. Moreover, we are also facing some nontariff barriers due to different standards and regulations in the U.S. market, and an agreement that addresses this issue would have a positive impact reducing costs for EU companies.”
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion